Holy Scripture Study: Commentaries

The Study of the Holy Scriptures: Isaiah Commentaries & Prophets

Gregorio Billikopf

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יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ
וּדְבַר־אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעֹולָם

ישעיהו מ: ח   

One of the best ways to study the Scriptures is to write down our own impressions as we read and ponder. I find that inspiration comes with more strength as I write down the feelings I obtain as I study. Prayer and guidance of the Spirit are essential in such an undertaking, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." After prayerful reading of the scriptures, I suggest that we first examine the ancient textual versions (Ancient Manuscripts page) before looking at the commentaries and other biblical translations of more recent date. The objective of this page is to provide a list of commentaries that may help us in this process of study and pondering. With effort, little by little the meaning of the scriptures will radiate out of the pages, as the rising sun after a cold and dark winter's night.

A. Isaiah

Very Excellent
1. Joseph Addison Alexander (1809-1860), Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah (2 volumes, an abridgment of the author's critical Commentary on Isaiah by Joseph Addison Alexander with an introduction by Merrill F. Unger). If I could only purchase two commentaries on Isaiah, it would be this one and the one by Ebenezer Henderson. Alexander brings piety, knowledge of Hebrew, and a thorough understanding of previous commentaries to this work.

Very Excellent
2. Ebenezer Henderson, The Book of the Prophet Isaiah: Translated from the Original Hebrew; with a Commentary, Critical, Philological , and Exegetical (2nd Edition, 1857). Like Alexander, Henderson brings a thorough knowledge of Hebrew and other languages to bear on this thorough commentary. As mentioned, if I could only purchase two commentaries, this one would be one of them.

3. William A. Kay, The Bible Commentary (Isaiah), or The Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version (A.D. 1611) with an explanatory and critical commentary and a rebision of the translation, by bishops and other clergy of the Anglican Church, published in New York by Charles Scribner's Sons, 1892. Kay and Rawlinson (see next) never cease to impress in terms of their insights.

4. George Rawlinson, The Pulpit Commentary (Isaiah, 2 Volumes). published in New York by Funk & Wagnalls Company. Rawlinson and Kay see above) never cease to impress in terms of their insights into Isaiah.

5. Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah (2 Volumes, 1949, published by Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is a solid commentary that offers insights into the Hebrew. Despite its excellence, I have two complaints, namely: 1) sometimes gives the Hebrew in transliterated English, which makes it more difficult to read; and 2) several verses are combined under one reference, which adds time when one is searching for something specific. This outstanding commentary is included in some of the software packages mentioned in our home page.

6. Robert Lowth (1710-1787, Isaiah: A new translation with preliminary dissertation and notes, critical, philological, and explanatory. Thomas Tegg & Son, London. 1835. At times somewhat controversial, Lowth takes some liberties in terms of the Hebrew text. Lowth seems to have had access to numerous Hebrew manuscripts that point out alternative words in the text. Lowth discovered the existence of Chiasmus in the Old Testament.

7. John Gill (1697-1771, John Gill's Commentary on the entire Bible. One valuable contribution is his understanding of Hebrew and references to such exegetes as Joseph Kimchi, Gijsbert Voetius, and Johannes Cocceius. An excellent quality source that shows the Hebrew script is Freegrace.Net. This outstanding commentary is included in some of the software packages mentioned in our home page.

8. Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Explanatory and Practical (Isaiah, 2 volumes), published by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1979. This is one of my favorite commentaries on Isaiah as Barnes does an excellent job of talking about ancient traditions of the middle east, helping the reader make better sense of some of the more difficult verses. Note that not all books in the Barnes on the Old Testamen series were written by Albert Barnes, and they certainly do not match the insight and quality of Barnes. There are included a few attractive drawings to illustrate some points. This outstanding commentary is included in some of the software packages mentioned in our home page.

9. C. Edward Naegelsbach, Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical (Isaiah), published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, originally published in 1871. Each section of scripture is divided into a discussion of the Hebrew text (Textual and Grammatical) as well as an exegetical section. Naegelsbach often has, like Kay and Rawlinson, excellent insights.

Very, very good
10. T. K. Cheyne, The Prophecies of Isaiah: A new translation with commentary and appendices (2 Volumes), published by Kegal Paul, Trench, & Co., 1884. Despite Cheyne's belonging to a liberal thelogical perspective, this is a valuable work with excellent insights on the meaning of Isaiah's writings.

Very, very good
11. Abraham (ben Meir) Ibn Ezra, The Commentary of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah: edited from manuscripts and translated, with notes, introductions, and indexes by M. Friedländer) published by Philipp Feldheim, Inc., New York as well as the Society of Hebrew Literature in England. First published in the years 1873-1877. The commentary is included in one volume, but there are three other volumes associated with this work that include The Anglican Version of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah amended according to the commentary of Ibn Ezra (Volume II); a glossary of Hebrew terms used by Ibn Ezra, as well as the commentary in Hebrew (Volume III); and finally, a book with essays on the writings of Abraham Ibn Ezra. Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra contributes important insights on the book of Isaiah.

Very good
12. John Calvin (1509-1564), Calvin's Commentaries (Isaiah). This book can also be viewed on-line with the Hebrew script when it is used, from view Calvin Commentaries provided by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. This is a very interesting and impressive commentary.

Very good
13. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Volume IV, Isaiah-Malachi, published by AP&A, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Henry often makes excellent suggestions in terms of living a better life as well as valuable exegetical comments. His love for God comes through in his pages. One criticism is that verses are lumped together making it difficult to easily and quickly distinguish where to go when studying verse by verse. This commentary is included in some of the software packages mentioned in our home page. This commentary may also be viewed on-line or downloaded at Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Very good
14. Andrew Faussett (1821-1910), Jamieson, Faussett & Brown(. This classic commentary can be found in the software packages mentioned in the home page as well as from BibleClassics.com.

Of interest
15. Martin Luther, Luther's Works (Lectures on Isaiah, 2 Volumes, 16 & 17), published by Concorida Publishing House, Saint Louis, 1972.

Of interest
16. Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah (3 volumes), published by Eerdamns, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Unfortunately uses transliterated rather than Hebrew characters when talking about the text. Useful annotated bibliography of other commentaries.

Of interest
17. J. Glentworth Butler, The Bible-Work Old Testament: The Revised Text arranged in sections; with comments selected from the choicest, most illuminating and helpful thought of the Christian centuries (Volumes 7 & 8), published in New York by The Butler Bible-Work Company in 1894. Volume 7 includes the 4 historical chapters, Isaiah 36-39, while Volume 8 contains all the remaining chapters, i.e., 1-35; 40-66. The list of commentators cited is a veritable who's who of commentators.

B.  Bible Commentaries

Free downloadable Bible commentaries from eSword, but must download free eSword first:

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

The Treasury of David (C. H. Spurgeon, Book of Psalms)

Z.  Other Recommendations (available from Gregorio Billikopf).

For conversation or questions contact Gregorio at bielikov@yahoo.com.

Ó 2005-2010 Gregorio Billikopf

Last Revised
18 May 2010